Ambition and conscientiousness aren’t always the most comfortable bedfellows.

When you have high standards of integrity, and big dreams for getting your work out into the world, the inside of your head can feel like a long, high-velocity tennis match. You want to reach higher – and you want to stay grounded. You long to play bigger – and you know that “bigger” can be a trap. You want to be of service – and you know that sometimes stepping into the spotlight is part of serving your purpose.

The fact is, these two perspectives can be integrated. But integrating them requires some inner work.

One framework for understanding this inner tennis match is impostor syndrome (or imposter complex). When we recognize impostor syndrome at work, we become aware that the “stay humble” voice doesn’t always have our best interests, or the greater good, at heart.

“Stay humble” can be a mask that our inner critic wears.

“Stay humble” can be code for “Mind your step; you’re a threat to authority.”

“Stay humble” can be code for plain old fear and resistance standing in the way of you doing the work you were born to do.

Pay close attention to the tone of that “Stay humble” voice in your head. Notice when it’s talking you out of moving along your true path.

Humility serves the greater good; fear disguising itself as humility does not.


When you’re standing at a transition point – be it a promotion, an opportunity to reach a wider audience, or a chance to step into bolder leadership – and a voice inside your head tells you you’re not ready yet, even though you’ve worked your ass off to get here? That’s impostor syndrome talking.

I would love mightily to rid the world of impostor syndrome. It gets in the way of so many brilliant, conscientious and ambitious people lighting up the place.

I’ve written before about how to overcome it – but I also want to recommend a resource for those who prefer to work with others in a more collaborative environment. It’s from Tanya Geisler, whose TEDx talk on the Impostor Complex I adore, and with whom I’m collaborating on a related project – so you know I think she’s the bomb.

Tanya, like me, is on a mission to rid the world of impostor syndrome – and she’s designed a brilliant program for women who want to put it behind them once and for all. Step Into Your Starring Role is a 12-week coaching program that’s for you if you’re yearning to move into leadership – whatever that looks like for you – and are tired of hearing that nagging “who, me?” voice inside your head.

It has already transformed dozens of lives through brilliant content and a vibrant, super-supportive community – it’s the kind of program where fast friendships are formed and participants overflow with superlatives about the amazing people they connected with. The community becomes a part of your team, and they won’t let you forget your special brand of greatness, even when your inner critic is on fire.

A couple of things to note before I share the link to Tanya’s program:

  1. I’m a proud affiliate for this program. If you’ve spent much time here, you know I’m very selective about my endorsements and affiliations. When I choose to post an affiliate link, it means I truly believe the offer is of high value to you – my yardstick for doing affiliate sales is, “Would I tell you about it if I wasn’t an affiliate?” If the answer is yes, then I welcome the win-win business proposition of earning a little extra cash along the way. Please know there is no pressure for you to register through my link – in fact, I’m also posting a non-affiliate link to Tanya’s site if you prefer to opt out of the affiliate thing.
  2. Registration opens March 17 and closes March 30. So if this calls your name, get on the list now.
  3. If you’d like a taste of Tanya’s approach, I highly recommend downloading her free tool, YUM + YAY GoodnessIt’s an excerpt from the program and a powerful exercise in combating self-doubt.

Tanya is one of the best coaches in the business – the real deal – and she has one of the most generous hearts I’ve ever witnessed. Having her in your corner is equivalent to gaining three superpowers.

I can’t think of a better way to move past impostor syndrome and into your full power.

Ready to step into your starring role? Here you go.

Use that nice, big link if you’re OK with me taking a commission on your registration fee; I’m very grateful for your generosity. Or if you’d rather put the full amount in Tanya’s bank account, you can use this link instead. Whatever feels right to you is good by me.